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Is Costa Rica Still a 'Good Deal'?

Sep 16, 2013

Is Costa Rica Still a

So you’re considering a move abroad, either for retirement, to live full-time or to have a tropical escape to call your own during cold, damp winters… excellent! But unless you know exactly where you want to head, the next stage – the actual deciding – is arguably the toughest. After all, it seems like you just got used to researching about how great one place is, only to find out that the next ‘up and coming’ place is way better, and cheaper! 

But there’s something to be said about ‘tried and true’… and Costa Rica certainly fits the bill of tried and true! It’s been one of the number one retirement destinations for the past 15 or so years, and continues to ramp up as a top tourist destination as well. But what does all this mean for the retirees of today? Is it too expensive? Too overrun by tourists and ‘gringos’? Is Costa Rica still a good deal for those looking to retire and vacation in an affordable paradise? 

Too Many Tourists!

It’s no lie that over the years, Costa Rica has become a popular tourist destination… especially for those looking for the ever-popular ‘eco-tourism’. What exactly is eco-tourism? It’s essentially a way for people to stay in a location (home, resort, lodge, etc) that focuses on personal growth and environmental sustainability. There’s a lot of focus put on the local flora, fauna and cultural heritage of a specific location. Although this is a huge draw for folks to visit Costa Rica (no doubt, considering it’s one of the most bio-diverse countries in the world!), these resorts/lodges are typically off the beaten path from the mainstream tourist areas and tend to attract people that are primarily interested in the land and surroundings, as opposed to partying all night.

In fact, Costa Rica has very few all-inclusive-type resorts similar to those you might find in Mexico or the Dominican Republic. Although they do exist, they tend to be in locations that are already highly popular ‘gringo’ destinations. These are also the areas that are likely spurring talk that Costa Rica is no longer affordable, since the properties and homes here are pricier. Especially if you head on a vacation, stay in a resort and then visit a real estate sales centre to check out what it would cost to purchase a home there! This is where we come in… Where International tells you about the locations in Costa Rica that aren’t overrun with resorts and tourists. Our developers are in locations that are a bit more off the beaten path, but are still close to necessary amenities and services. Plus… these are the hidden locations that are still affordable. The Nicoya Peninsula and the Southern Zone are stunning areas of Costa Rica, but they aren’t mainstream tourist destinations that pop up on a Google search, meaning that the tourists that are there, have headed there specifically…  

Day-To-Day Living

Yes… Costa Rica is a developing country. But don’t let that fool you! Because being categorized as ‘developing’ is so broad (a typically used reference point is the size of a nation’s GDP compared to other nations), Costa Rica is most certainly on the higher end of being developed. Much of the infrastructure – including hospitals – is highly advanced, with continuous efforts by the government to keep on improving. The grocery stores are well stocked, and with growing expat communities budding in certain areas of the country, specialty items are easily (and affordably!) obtained. This goes for restaurants as well… as delicious as ‘typical’ Costa Rican food is, if you’re in the mood for Indian or Japanese, you’ll find it.

Unfortunately, moving to Costa Rica won’t take away the fact that you still have to pay insurance and utility bills, but these costs are considerably cheaper then they would be in North America. Insurance on a 2000 sqft home will only run you around $600, while electric bills can be as low as $50 a month… one way to consider the cost of living in this country is to remember that locals may only make $300 - $500 a month. Therefore, despite real estate increases in certain areas, the actual day-to-day living hasn’t changed much, in order to accommodate for everyone… locals, tourists and expats. 

So in short, yes. Costa Rica is definitely still a good deal. It really just comes down to knowing where to look!

By working with Where International, we will help you discover the pockets of Costa Rica that still have affordable property opportunities. Both the Nicoya Peninsula and the Southern Zone are easy to reach, but are still removed from the mainstream. Property is still available in both of these areas for under $100,000, and our developers would love to show you your future personal paradise! Book your Discovery Weekend to have a full tour of what’s available, as well as the surrounding neighborhoods and towns. Eventually, these prices will start to go up too; so the sooner you’re able to take advantage, the better deal you’ll get!

Book your Nicoya Peninsula Discovery Weekend HERE

Book your Southern Zone Discovery Weekend HERE


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Where International exists to recommend a variety of International real estate options. Where International requires developers to meet stringent criteria before offering them to you. Conversely, any inspections we conduct on projects or individuals should not be misinterpreted as a guarantee by Where International. International real estate is not immune to the ups and downs that occur in North American real estate; property values are never guaranteed to increase.

Where International is not accountable for the orchestration or deliverance of Discovery Weekends. We provide them to you on behalf of our developer partners. We recommend that you purchase travel insurance, as you would with any trip out of your home country. In addition, we advise you complete your own due diligence, purchase title insurance and always use a local attorney to assist with all transactions. In the event that a reader purchases a property from a recommended developer, Where International receives a sum from the developer.